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Bears vs. Eagles Preseason Week 1 PFF Grades: Backup offensive line steps up

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The best and worst performers from the Eagles' 2014 preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

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Pro Football Focus is a site that grades NFL player performances. Let's take a look at what they had to say about the performances in Philadelphia's 34-28 loss to the Chicago Bears.

PFF offers explanation on their grading system on their website. Read more about that here.

OFFENSE

Best

Matt Tobin +3.4
Dennis Kelly +2.4
Lane Johnson +2.0
Zach Ertz +1.8
Andrew Gardner +1.5
James Casey +1.3
Mark Sanchez +1.1

Worst

Jordan Matthews -3.5
G.J. Kinne -2.5
Kevin Graf -1.5
Henry Josey -1.4
Nick Foles -1.4
Matthew Tucker -1.3
Josh Huff -1.3
Matt Barkley -1.1
Quron Pratt -1.1

Analysis:

The Eagles backup offensive line graded out well. That seems to be an encouraging sign for a position group that lacks depth. Second year guard Matt Tobin was especially effective with run blocking being his strong suit. Andrew Gardner graded out as the best blocker in pass protection. Mark Sanchez was obviously sharp. He went 7/10 for 79 yards. Consider the circumstances regarding his three incompletions: 1) Jordan Matthews drop on a great throw, 2) Josh Huff drop on a ball that was off target, 3) Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.  Zach Ertz obviously had one of the best performances on the night as well.

As for those who struggled... it's no surprise to see rookie Matthews on top of the list. He effectively had three drops, though one almost looked like it was a big catch. Still, not good. Nick Foles, thrower of two interceptions, struggled as well. Josh Huff's kickoff return isn't included in his offensive grade; he had 1 reception on 5 targets for a gain of 4 yards. An optimist would point out that some of the most negative grades belong to players who likely won't make the 53 roster (Kinne, Pratt, Josey, Graf).

DEFENSE

Best

Nate Allen +3.6
Joe Kruger +3.5
Cedric Thornton +3.3
Marcus Smith II +2.3
Frank Mays +2.2
Vinny Curry +1.7
Beau Allen +1.4
Connor Barwin +1.3
Brandon Bair +1.3
Chris Maragos +1.3
Malcolm Jenkins +1.2
Brandon Graham +1.2
Mychal Kendricks +1.1

Worst

Roc Carmichael -3.1
Jaylen Watkins -2.0
Jason Phillips -1.6
Davon Morgan -1.4
Casey Matthews -1.3
Alejandro Villanueva -1.3
Bradley Fletcher -1.2

Analysis:

Nate Allen solidified his candidacy for a starting job in the Eagles safety position battle on Friday night with a solid performance. He tackled well (5 tackles) without missing any and didn't give up any big plays in coverage. 2013 draft pick defensive end Joe Kruger contributed with 2 QB hurries, 2 tackles, and 2 stops. Cedric Thornton, he of the run stop, actually got some pressure on Friday night with 2 QB hurries in 18 snaps played. He also batted a pass down. Speaking of batted passes, rookie OLB Marcus Smith II stood out in coverage and as a run defender. His pass rush is still a work in progress. Rookie undrafted free agent defensive end Frank Mays (6-9, 291) recorded 5 tackles and 5 stops. Vinny Curry excelled as a pass rusher with 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 1 QB hurry, but received a very negative grade as a run defender.

Carmichael's struggles against the Bears were on full display. PFF indicates he was targeted 10 times and allowed 6 receptions for a total of 93 yards (9.3 average). Rookie cornerback Jaylen Watkins, despite grabbing an interception, also struggled. On 5 targets he allowed 5 receptions for 114 yards, including a 74 yard touchdown pass. The other players who struggled on defense either won't make the team or aren't close to starting, except for cornerback Bradley Fletcher. Nolan Carroll II, who sat out on Friday night (hamstring/groin), could still make a strong push for Fletcher's starting job.